February 24, 2013
Notre Dame complètes rare sweep of Tulane at Turchin
With the bases loaded and Tulane trailing Notre Dame 2-1 on Friday night, Garrett Cannizaro blasted two consecutive pitches into the stratosphere but well foul down the left-field line at Turchin Stadium. Those two strikes were as good as it got for the Green Wave over the weekend.
Cannizaro struck out two pitches later. Andrew Garner flew out to centerfield to end the game. And the punchless Wave (3-4) were on their way to getting swept in a non-conference series for the first time since 2000 (at Arizona) and for the first time out of the league at home since 1997 (Indiana).
Leaky defense hurt in Saturday's 3-1 loss. Poor pitching killed any chance of salvaging Sunday's finale. But hitting was the constant problem.
By the time Andrew Garner grounded into a double play to end Sunday's 8-3 defeat, it was painfully obvious that tepid hitting could torpedo short-handed Tulane's hopes of ending a four-year postseason drought.
Through seven games, the Wave has scored two or fewer runs four times and is averaging 2.6 runs, a number that won't cut it even in the dead bat era of college baseball. Shortstop Brennan Middleton is the only starter hitting .300 or better. Cannizaro hit Tulane's first home run of the year on Sunday.
A major problem is injuries. Tulane has played without two-hole hitter Blake Crohan since he suffered a partial labrum tear in the opener. He could miss the rest of the season, but coach Rick Jones said it also was possible he could return as early as next weekend against Alabama.
Sunday, Tulane went without three-hole hitter Brandon Boudreaux, who strained a biceps muscle in the morning while taking batting practice off the tee. Jones said Boudreaux could be "out a few days or a few weeks."
"Put those two guys back in our lineup, and our lineup is a lot more imposing," Jones said. "I don't have a tremendous amount of position-player depth, and the way we are in our lineup right now, it's just hard for us to manufacture a lot of runs."
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